Seasonal Tips and Considerations for Outdoor Headshot Photography
Seasonal Tips and Considerations for Outdoor Headshot Photography
In our contemporary social and business world, where online networking happens before in-person introductions, the new business handshake has evolved to the professional profile and professional headshot photography image. That is the first thing people will see when searching for the product you sell, or the service and expertise that you provide.
When you are reading articles, visiting magazines, or checking out different companies on LinkedIn, have you ever seen a very bad profile picture? Maybe there was something in the background that was distracting, or unprofessional. Perhaps the image quality was poor, or grainy? What do you think about profile headshots that look stretched and distorted, or too small for the frame?
Whether we like it or not, we are constantly evaluated based on the personal branding image that we build in our business and career lives. Professional headshot photography matters, and it is an investment in your own personal branding.
Learn how to organize a headshot photography session, and how more than one profile image (including outdoor headshots) can help you differentiate yourself among peers and create a strong favorable impression for recruiting organizations.
Basic Rules and Considerations for Business Headshot Portraits
You have heard the saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and that definitely applies to corporate portraiture and personal branding. When you are browsing on LinkedIn, have you ever noticed how some of the most exceptional professionals have remarkable profile pictures? That is no accident. Because like it or not, you are judged by the image you share online.
Think about some of the most notable and internationally recognized business leaders, and the images they use as their profile shots. On average, they tend to be indoor photography, taken against a wall that doesn’t really help differentiate them from other executives. We’d like to share two examples on opposite ends of the spectrum, from serious to casual:
● Arianna Huffington, the founder of The Huffington Post, opted for an indoor shot which is representative of the editor and media expert she is.
● Marc Cuban (who doesn’t list all the companies he owns or manages, but simply states his role as ‘President’) decided to get playful in his most recent profile picture. It looks like he is sitting on a private jet until you look more closely at the reflection in the globe. We’re still not sure what to make of the picture, but it’s definitely reflective of a jet setting global entrepreneur who isn’t afraid to have a little creative fun.
Business portraits or headshots can be used in a variety of ways, and professionals get substantial value from their investment in professional photography. Your quality headshot can be used to create a consistent professional image online, and in printed marketing communications, including:
● Social media profile images (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
● Website images (staff or executive team sections)
● Adding a personal touch to your resume or C.V.
● Print advertising (business cards, flyers or special offers)
● Blog Author or guest blogger biography
When you are evaluating your options for professional headshot portraits, consider the overall message that you want to convey through the image. Do you want people to see someone who is friendly and approachable? Perhaps you are a corporate executive, and you want your headshot to project your experience and leadership skills.
Creative professionals are the exception to the rules of headshot photography. You absolutely must compose some profile pictures that capture your creativity, as a ‘maker’. Whether you are a code writer, website or graphics designer, dancer, special event coordinator, the best kind of headshots for the creative niche involve an action or background of you ‘doing’ what you do best.
When working with a professional photographer, it is important (before your shoot) to communicate your overall objectives for your profile pictures. Since the mid-1990s, the general rule has been to use the same headshot for all digital media and self-promotion purposes, but that is changing. What is trending now, is to use different headshots for online branding.
For instance, the picture that you use on LinkedIn may be associated with your business or your employer, and it may capture a more authoritative (or creative) side, depending on your role and industry. But for your personal blog, or private Facebook and Instagram, you may want to use a more relaxed or recreationally themed headshot.
What Impression Does an Outdoor Headshot Make for Business Professionals?
You probably already noticed that many corporate executives do not have an outdoor profile picture. The standard has always been that they are ‘too busy working’ to be outside, and that was communicated by an office or indoor headshot. But that is changing, and after years of indoor profile pictures, the trend now is to provide a refreshing outdoor background, in natural light instead.
When someone sees an outdoor headshot, they think; approachable, young, energetic, inquisitive and generally someone who shares positive energy and joy for their career, and life. All of that can be effectively communicated with lighting and natural landscape backgrounds. It is also recommended for people employed in outdoor professional fields, such as landscape architecture, playground designers, film location scouts and more.
What Season is the Best Time for Outdoor Headshot Photography?
Unless you are a ski instructor, climate scientist or winter sports athlete, chances are that you will not be interested in scheduling your headshot photography session in the snow. But when is the best time to schedule your outdoor portraiture? It depends on the effect that you want to achieve.
Springtime photography can be hit and miss, depending on the lighting and the maturation of the outdoor flora. Budding trees are not as visually appealing as those that are full of leaves in the early summer months. At the same time, with summer weather comes other issues like heat, which can alter your complexion in the shoot, or impact professional cosmetics you may choose to wear, to enhance your appearance. The majority of outdoor headshot sessions are conducted from May through the end of June annually, for optimal lighting and natural green backgrounds.
There are advantages to choosing portraiture in different seasons, allowing you to change your headshot profile picture depending on the month of the year. For instance, some marketing professionals will add a beautiful and colorful Fall headshot from September to November, and then switch their profile picture to a crisp green outdoor picture in the Summer.
It can be a unique application of your headshot photography, that will differentiate you from others in your industry and business sector. It is creative and refreshing to look at when a business professional makes the effort to occasionally change their profile picture, and one trend we are starting to see more often.
Choosing the Right Background for Natural Headshots
Depending on your preference and the details of the location for the shoot, your professional photographer will choose the optimal time of day for natural light. A lot of mathematical expertise goes into adjusting both the angle of your picture and the filtration of light through a variety of specialty lenses. Photographers will have a portfolio gallery to show you similar work, and help you select from a variety of poses, as well as light and shade effects.
Some of the common natural backdrops used in outdoor headshot photography include:
● A forest or collection of trees.
● Natural rock formations, or mountains.
● A water element, such as a river, creek or lake.
● A city backdrop, for a metropolitan business theme.
● A graffiti brick wall background (popular for creative professionals).
If you intend to get a variety of different pictures, your photographer will scout locations in close approximation to optimize time and the best light hours of the day. You can also opt to bring wardrobe changes to try different outfits and accessories so that you will have a wide variety of options to choose from. Some outdoor photographers will even provide a garment tent or a collapsible change room for this purpose.
Cost Considerations for Outdoor Photography
Did you know that many picturesque locations, actually require a permit to photograph? Natural areas like parks and gardens may allow for free personal use photography, but a photo that will be used for commercial purposes (such as a headshot) may require written permission to avoid copyright issues.
Outdoor photography also requires specialty camera equipment, including a selection of lens and filter options that will create different and artistic effects. Your professional photographer will also be required to travel to scout appropriate locations for your consideration before the photoshoot. This extra effort produces exceptional results, but the cost of your photographer’s time is factored into the service fee charged for your shoot.
When you schedule your outdoor headshot session, your photographer will upload images to an online gallery to allow you to see the images that were captured. These images will be watermarked with the photographer’s logo in the gallery until you have selected the portraiture that you would like to use.
If you are not comfortable with resizing and cropping your headshot for different purposes, simply discuss where you plan to use your profile pictures. The photographer can assist you with an additional service, to provide resampled (sized) images for each social media platform, or marketing need. Then you can simply upload the correct orientation and size to each platform.
Project an image that reflects your expertise, creative energy and brand persona with high-quality headshots from an experienced photographer. If your current headshot looks like ‘a selfie’ to you, it also looks that way to organizations and recruiters, other industry peers or customers. Create the right image and impression, with an outdoor headshot and professional profile photography.